My experience with the Palestinian Shish Barak


My dear friend invited me to spend a day in her kitchen learning and watching how she and her mom make a very a traditional Palestinian/Jordanian dish. That dish is called “Shish Barak”. It was such a unique experience! I think that dish says a lot about Palestinian people. They are really strong and patient! In my opinion, this dish should be very expensive and only to be cooked for people who you really care about. It requires a tremendous amount of work to be done properly. The result is so much worth it though specially for the people who like lamb. My friend used a very unique ingredient on that day that she got with her while traveling, it is the fermented yogurt. I put a picture for the fermented yogurt below since it looks so different from anything I have seen before. However, I will replace it in this recipe with regular milk and greek yogurt since I do not think this ingredient is available here. I will try also to describe how this dish tastes like, so it is close to chicken cream sauce mixed with tangy yogurt  flavors and it has nice surprise of dumplings that are stuffed with ground lamb and parsley. The dumplings reminded me of the dim sums a lot and that was awesome! I think this is as close as possible 🙂

Fermented yogurt from Jordan
Ingredients for the dumplings
2 cups flour
Some water about 2/3 cup of water
About 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Ingredients for the dumplings stuffing
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup chopped parsley
2 finely chopped onions
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon all spices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Ingredients for the sauce
I will replace the original fermented yogurt with:
4 tablespoons of all purpose flour
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 lime juice
1/2 cup of full fat milk
4 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste.
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 cup of cooked rice

You need to do this step first before anything to get the tanginess in the sauce. Add the flour on the yogurt with the lime juice and mix together. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to ferment a little bit. The longer it is set aside the better

To make the dumplings: sift the flour in a bowl. Add  bit of salt. Gradually add water and knead to obtain a soft dough. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and set it aside for now.


The dumplings stuffing will be the ground meat. So, on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and fry the chopped onion until golden.

Add the ground beef and lamb fry until the meat turns brown. Add some salt and pepper, 7 spices and the chopped parsley. Set aside to cool.


When the meat cools down, start preparing the dumplings. Cut the dough into medium balls and start rolling the dough on a floured surface. Cut the dough into small circles as shown below.


Now, the fun starts!! I demonstrated the steps to get the right shape of the dumpling in the pictures below. Place 1 teaspoon of the meat filling in the centre of each circle. First, fold it carefully in a half and make sure the edges are closed. Then, bring both corners of the 2 edges together to obtain a dumpling form that looks like a shell as shown below. Make sure all edges are closed well.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.35.29 PM


Back to the sauce, add the milk little by little on the flour yogurt mixture until you get to a consistency close to the pancake batter.
Heat the chicken broth on a medium heat in a large pan.
Add the cooked rice in the broth.
Add the yogurt flour milk mixture in the broth little by little. Keep stirring until it boils.


Drop the dumplings now in the sauce. Do not stir so the dumplings do not break. Keep it on medium heat until you can see the dumplings are cooked. It will take like 15 mins.
On a medium heat, fry the minced garlic in a small skillet with the freshly chopped coriander in the vegetable oil and add them to the sauce. Mix well and turn off the heat. Enjoy!!!



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